demodicosis, red mangeDemodicosis is also known as the red mange.

Demodex canis is a mite that resides in the hair follicles of all dogs. It can cause localized or generalized skin problems. When a young dog develops clinical signs from an overgrowth of these mites it is linked with genetics. Other factors that may contribute are poor nutrition, lack of shelter, and the estrus cycle of a female dog.

Statistics suggest that a dog with low numbers of mites has a 50% chance of clearing the mites on its own and a wait and see approach may be appropriate. Dogs with many mites of all life stages and progressive disease need anti-mite therapy.

Around 95% of patients that need therapy will ultimately clear the mite. The remaining 5% will continuously relapse and need life long therapy.

When an adult dog develops demodicosis, additional testing may be necessary to determine if a systemic illness is present, leading to an impaired immune system and subsequent proliferation of the demodex mites. Therapy varies between patients based on age and breed.

A commensal relationship between the mite and the staphylococcal bacteria on the skin is recognized; thus, antimicrobial therapy is very important. Several products are available for therapy; the appropriate medication depends on the age and breed of the patient.

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